Shoe Care - Polishing and Caring for Shoes

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What You Need for Polishing Shoes

Only a few items are necessary to keep your footwear in tip-top shape:

Natural bristle brush
Old toothbrush
Shoe cream or polish
Soft cloth or rag
Newspaper or an old sheet

Polishing Leather Shoes

Select a shoe cream or polish that matches your shoe colour. Polishes that contain dyes, pigments, wax and conditioning agents keep footwear looking fresh, add shine and cover scuffs. They are available as creams, liquids and pastes. Although liquid polishes, with their foam applicator tops, are easiest to work with, shoe repair experts recommend the protection and conditioning offered by shoe creams. This is because liquid polishes can dry out shoe leather and cause cracking. You start by removing the laces. Use a brush or damp cloth to clean dust or dirt from the shoe, heel and sole. A good leather cleaner or preparer will do the good job to clean the shoes in readiness for polishing. With a soft cloth, apply a small amount of shoe cream or polish in a circular motion. An old toothbrush is useful for getting into small or tight areas. Place the polished shoes on newspaper or an old sheet to dry. When the shoe is dry, usually after about 15 minutes, brush with a natural bristle brush, then buff to a shine with a clean rag. If you are polishing several pairs of shoes, be sure to use a different brush and rags for each color of polish.

Cleaning Suede and Nubuck Shoes

Shoes with a nap, such as suede or nubuck, can’t be polished. After purchasing a pair of suede or nubuck shoes, you’ll first want to apply a protectant to repel water and stains. However, repellant only lasts for a while, so you’ll need to reapply it periodically. Gently brush suede and nubuck footwear to remove loose dirt and restore nap on a regular basis. If you own a pair of oiled nubuck shoes, you may also want to apply conditioner to preserve them. Stains should be treated immediately with a solvent-based suede cleaner. If they prove hard to remove, take the shoe to a shoe repair professional.

Caring for Athletic Shoes and Trainers

Athletic shoes with fabric or suede uppers and trim can be cleaned the same way you clean your suede or nubuck shoes. Special trainer shampoos, used with brush applicators, do a good job of cleaning stains and dirt from leather trainers. Cover scuff marks with matching colour polish. Trainers made from canvas, such as Converse All Stars, can be washed by hand using a toothbrush, mild soap and water.
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